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Blue Beyond Blue: Extraordinary Tales for Ordinary Dilemmas Paperback – 21 Aug 2006

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Product Description

About the Author

Lauren Slater is a psychologist and writer. She is the author of Opening Skinner's Box and Blue Beyond Blue, among other books. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fierce and provocative 18 Jun. 2005
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Words have extraordinary power in our lives, whether transformative, shaming, uplifting or memorable. In Blue Beyond Blue, Lauren Slater takes a novel approach to the power of story, the concept of narrative therapy. In her introduction, Slater speaks to "externalization", the process of separating the person from the problem, giving the problem its own existence so that it can be dealt with: "patients come face to face with the subjugating language and plot points typically given to problems". The challenge, of course, is in facing the blank page, a daunting task for most, but one with manifold benefits.

Slater carries this process one step further, into the magic realm of fairy tales, rejecting Bruno Bettelheim's Freudian approach of decades past as too limited, the reference too rigidly analytical. However, Slater does value the power in these tales from a child's perspective and their potential for healing. In any case, fairy tales were never meant only for children, but as folklore and social commentary, passed from one generation to the next. One only has to peruse The Annotated Brothers Grimm to uncover an abundance of metaphors, the stories reflecting far more than the obvious.

Here Slater pens a collection of her own fairy tales, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, moral issues and the inconsistencies of romantic love. The small, provocative tales are revelatory, couched in the language of fable but based in the resolution of conflict, fierce and graphic, such titles as: "Placebo", My Girlfriend's Arm", "The Fairy of Lost Things", "Six Green Bottles" and "Gretel's Witch". Not to be missed: "Blue Beyond Blue", where a mother cuts off her daughter's wings to keep her near; "The Gun", a beautifully disguised metaphor for the evolution of a changing female identity; "A Daughter's Tale", the fable of a Chinese princess born to a mother who will not bind her daughter's feet in the traditional manner; and "Ruby Red", the truth about Snow White's wicked stepmother, this version injecting elements of family dysfunction far beyond a sleeping princess waiting for the kiss of her Prince Charming. At the core of all is the essence of femaleness, the ties that bind and sever, the bonds of blood that define a woman in the world.

The beauty of a fairy tale lies in its ability to transcend the murky world of the subconscious, experience writ in a more manageable form, not unlike dancing with nightmares with the light on. Mother-daughter relationships, the ambiguities of sexual identity, familiar archetypes turned unrecognizable, all are folded into fables that spill from the pages of Blue Beyond Blue, humankind in all its splendor and depravity, differences fraught with emotional pain and isolation. We use stories like garden tools to till the soil of memory, pulling weeds out by their roots so that healthy plants may bloom. In graphic prose, with color a metaphor for feelings, these lyrical tales are seeded with wisdom and imagination: "it is memory, not magic that brings comfort". Luan Gaines/2005.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jumpstart your imagination 8 Jan. 2007
By kate - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a very busy person who never has enough time to sit down and read, I tend to judge books on whether or not they pull me in enough to make me finish them. Blue Beyond Blue did, in fact I would finish one tale only to be drawn into the next when I really should have been doing something responsible!

The book consists of 16 short fairy tales that feel both modern and timeless. Slater does not necessarily spell out the moral of every tale, but I like things that way -- not completely tied up with a neat bow. She does stir the imagination with characters that range from a landlocked mermaid to a queen with a bad case of melancholia.

I would definately recommend this book. Each story is a nice little break from reality. Each story has a way of sticking with you, making you think not about what the author was trying to say, but about your own understanding of the words.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book of short stories 13 Oct. 2014
By Pademelon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Excellent book of short stories! Although originally the goal was to write a book of fairy tales for children, the end result was too perverse and thus published for adults. The author weaves humor and darkness deftly and creatively in tales that are at times surrealistic at others satiric but often revealing a stark reality of human nature.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars short stories = quick reads when busy 29 July 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The stories were quite interesting and a few really caught my attention. I had to keep reminding myself though that these were fairy tales and so the endings weren't always what I had hoped or expected.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 30 Jun. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An extraordinary collection of tales that make one think in deep new ways.
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